Activity Plan Mixed Ages: Quilting Bee
"Sew" good: This class project will boost skills a stitch at a time
- Grades: PreK–K
- books about quilts including Quilt Story* by Tony Johnston (Scholastic Inc.; $5.99), and Luka's Quilt by Georgia Guback (HarperCollins, 1994; $16.99)
- felt fabric squares for quilt panels (place masking tape around the border of each panel)
- items to decorate quilt panels including scraps of fabric, paper, wallpaper, feathers, sequins, or fabric crayons
- child safety scissors
- hole punch or sharp adult scissors
- colored yarn or glue
- large plastic needle point sewing needles
Objective: Children will develop language, literacy, fine-motor skills, creative thinking, and social awareness.
Introduction: Collect several of the suggested books to read to children. Follow the readings with discussions to highlight important elements of the story including story sequence, main characters, setting, and the meaning of the story. Ask children to relate the story to events in their lives or other stories they have read. Engage them in a discussion about quilts. Why are quilts so special? Do children have quilts at home that have special meaning to their family? Develop a Venn diagram with older children to compare and contrast two or more stories.
Explain that making a quilt was, and still is, a social event where people work together. This type of get-together is often called a "quilting bee." Tell children they will make a class quilt. First, they will design their own quilt panel and then they will all help to sew the panels together. Set up the art area with the suggested art materials and invite small groups for a quilting bee. Ask children not to place anything on the taped area of their panel. Encourage them to use the materials provided to decorate their quilt panel.
Gather all the finished quilt panels and remove the masking tape from all the edges. Use a hole punch or sharp scissors to make holes in the felt. Space the holes in each panel so they can be sewn together evenly. Invite several children at a time to sew the panels together. Offer assistance if needed.
Invite families to school to celebrate the completion of the class quilt. Find a special area to display the quilt and the children's writings. Ask children to talk about their panels and their experiences making the quilt. Invite children to dramatize one of their favorite books about quilts.
Curriculum Connection: LITERACY
Blanket Stories. Send a disposable camera home to a different family each night and request that they photograph and write about a favorite blanket. It can be their child's baby blanket, a new blanket or quilt, or one that has been in the family for years. Use the photographs and writings to create a classroom book of family blanket stories to include in the library area.